Our educational guiding principles
We consider preschool education to be complementary to the family and focus on the child as a protagonist in his or her development. We trust the child to take the steps necessary for his/ her development on his/her own through his/her own activities, to actively and creatively strive from the very beginning to acquire the world together with others.
Early childhood (self-)education always depends on the assistance of adults, because the basis for children's educational activities are secure emotional bonds, reliable relationships, and surroundings of mutual recognition. Therefore, the focus of our educational activities is to recognize the needs, abilities, and interests of each individual child through active observation, to identify them, and to support the children accordingly by designing learning processes. It also means enabling children to actively participate in (self-)education and recognizing them as equal personalities.
For this purpose, we create a motivating and prejudice-conscious atmosphere for all children, encourage, accompany, discover, and learn together with children. The development of bilingual education and upbringing with the help of immersion is a determined goal.
The educational concepts of the day-care centres of the Studierendenwerk Thüringen are based on:
- the situational approach,
- prejudice-conscious education and upbringing,
- Reggio pedagogy,
- bilingual education and upbringing with the help of immersion.
You can read the framework concept of our day-care centres here.
The following focal points are particularly important to us in our educational work:
We can only master this challenge of the initial period together with you.
- Getting to know each other (4 to 5 days)
- You attend the initial interview with a lot of information about your child.
- You actively accompany your child in the daily routine of the day-care centre (feeding, diapering, putting the child to sleep, etc.).
- The nursery teachers consciously remain in the background.
- You and your child can experience the entire daily routine.
- You will find support and contact persons in the entire team of teachers.
- Safety (3 to 6 days)
- Now you can increasingly be less involved but continue to be available to your child as a "secure base and helping hand".
- The pre-school teachers in question actively establish contact with your child.
- Your joint presence should now adapt to the contractual attendance time.
- Your child is also welcomed to stay with us during critical moments (tiredness, hunger, etc.).
- Confidence (not before the 7th day)
- Now begins the time when your child is ready to cope with everyday life at the day-care centre on his or her own.
- We discuss the timing and duration of the separations with you.
- It is important that you actively say goodbye to your child and allow potentially strong feelings.
- During the first separation, please remain at the day-care centre; later, it will be sufficient to be available by telephone.
- When you come to pick up your child after the agreed time, this settling-in day is completed.
- Evaluation and conclusion
- After about eight to ten weeks, we invite you to a follow-up meeting to conclude the settling in period.
We are observers and documenters: targeted, but also casual observations of each individual child take place regularly and enable us to set impulses for promoting and challenging the children in terms of room design, materials, interaction, and projects. Everyday educational processes are visibly displayed for parents in the daily documentation in the afternoon. All other documentation of children serves as a basis for discussion with the child, the children, the team, and the parents.
We are experts for children's learning: children learn with themselves, with other children, with us, with their parents, with professionals. Our task is to create as many opportunities for this process as possible. We consider sufficient time for children's play to be an important necessity here. We are role models for the children in the acquisition of social skills such as the ability to cooperate and communicate. We include our different competences in the daily work of the day-care centre. Creativity, flexibility, fun, transparency, etc. are important principles of our work. We actively involve the children in decisions, in finding topics, organizing the day, etc.
We are networkers and adult educators: A trusting cooperation and partnership with parents is an important pillar of our pedagogical work. We establish relations with other institutions such as elementary schools, senior citizens' homes, etc. and use offers provided by public institutions, such as the city library and public authorities, and include them in the daily day-care program. We keep in touch and seek exchange with other day-care centres within the Studierendenwerk, counselling centres, pre-school support centres, the Office for Family and Social Affairs, and the universities. We constantly improve our skills and attend training programs because only by working on team processes and continuous quality development, we as a team can fulfil our tasks and meet the challenges in the day-care centre.
Our concern is to help the child become strong for his or her future and to accompany him or her in his or her capabilities. To achieve this, the family and the day-care centre both actively work together to open to each other, to share their ideas about upbringing and education, and to cooperate for the benefit of the children in their care. We recognize the importance of the respective other living environment for the child and share the responsibility for promoting the child's development.
Strong parents form a stable foundation. The cooperation with parents is of great importance because our work can only be successful with them. We enter a temporary partnership with parents i.e., we support parents in their educational work and regularly exchange information about their child's educational development. We consider ourselves to be reliable partners in the constant care of their children.
Diverse information about the child is necessary to act in the child's best interest. Parents provide us with beneficial information in conversations (preferences, peculiarities in the family's home environment, etc.) clarifying the child's behaviour for us and, conversely, allowing parents a different perspective on their child. Thus, a clearer view of a child's developmental status is provided for parents and early education professionals. We offer parents one developmental interview per year in the day-care centre.
There are very different ways of communication with and for our parents:
- Notices on the Information boards
- Letters to parents
- Project documentation & "Talking Walls"
- Informal chats in passing
- Discussion on the child's development
- Co-design of the education book
- Admission talks
- Counselling sessions
- Informative meetings for parents
- Voluntary support of the day-care centre
- Parents' Café by the Parents' Representative Council
Visits by parents can also be arranged by appointment. These allow parents to gain an insight into the daily routine and an overall impression of the child's everyday life.
The opinion of our parents is important to us. The feedback from parents is part of this, as it provides us with valuable information about the perceived quality of care at our day-care centre, thereby providing us with the opportunity to further develop our quality. We conduct surveys of parents in the day-care centres of the Studierendenwerk Thüringen every two years. The results of the surveys are published.
Let our children have a voice! Your child can participate, contribute, have a say, co-determine, collaborate, and be involved - or in other words: Your child can actively participate in creating the day-to-day life of the day-care centre.
We take our children seriously and listen to their voices. In this way, we empower them to shape their own lives in our world. Participation is lived in our day-care centres in all fields of everyday life. The children learn to listen to each other and to meet other opinions with interest.
Children's meetings (a form of complaint management, which is also used by the youngest children), the morning meeting, children's questionnaires, children's interviews, children's menu & children's weekly schedule, project work, games, rules, educational books, Talking Walls, room design, selection process for new acquisitions, selection of the animal to be sponsored and much more create the opportunity in our day-care centres for participation and communication to be lived and experienced to a special degree.
Limits serve the physical and mental protection and are not negotiable. It is important to us that children and adults treat each other with respect and that materials in the house and outside area are respected and not destroyed wantonly.
Rules, on the other hand, are pedagogical agreements between the team of teachers and the children. They provide children and adults with safety, structure, security, and orientation. To understand and comply with rules, children must be able to comprehend the meaning of a rule or foresee the consequences of non-compliance. This ability requires abstract thinking, an ability that children do not develop until they are four years old. Together with the children, we have negotiated rules that provide a framework for our daily interaction and enable us to live together fairly. Rules in the day-to-day life of the day-care centre are time and situation dependent, negotiable, changeable, individual or apply temporarily. The morning circle offers a good opportunity to talk about them together. The children are encouraged to think for themselves through participation, develop a healthy self-confidence, reflect on their own actions, and train their frustration tolerance. We teach values through our example and our attitude. The children feel respected, loved, and accepted with their individuality.
Encouragement is any sign of attention that strengthens the sense of belonging, providing a boost and courage. It strengthens the belief in one's own abilities, increases the feeling of self-esteem and enables independent action. Courage enables us to make and maintain contacts with other people and to face our assigned or self-chosen tasks.
Therefore, an appreciative and respectful approach is a matter of course in our day-care centres. We already encourage the children during the settling-in period by noticing their needs, responding to them and supporting them in their urge to act independently and try things out. We encourage them to explore and take the time to show, explain and support them. We offer them recurring structures and rituals in everyday life as a secure network for individual development, self-awareness, and awareness of their own needs within this familiar framework.
We provide the necessary framework to guarantee children an active role in creating and shaping their development and knowledge. The early childhood professionals consider their task to cooperate with the children and to jointly design learning processes with them. In accordance with this mission, the pedagogical staff facilitate, stimulate, accompany, and document activities. Here, we are aware that the basis is trust in the children's competencies and that the children will focus on what they consider interesting and challenging according to their development. Thus, based on the children's natural curiosity, needs and interests, as well as their right to explore the diversity of the world, offers and projects are created with the children. This promotes educational processes and supports the children's curiosity to explore. We ensure that we teach knowledge and skills in a way appropriate to everyday life.
Observation and documentation take place spontaneously as well as purposefully in our day-care centre. They help to improve the understanding and relationship between the participants and are therefore an important means of information and communication between the children, the parents, and the team. Observation means paying attention.
We want to record the children's educational opportunities, leave traces, remember together, and accompany the developmental processes from the very first day.
This enables us to understand the children better, to establish a dialogue with them, to give them impulses and to find out their topics and questions. It is about insight and support, not judgment. All documents and interview recordings can be read/ viewed at any time.
Most children and adults experience the change from day-care centre to school as exciting and thrilling, however, fear and insecurity are not unusual. Therefore, it is our task to prepare the children and their parents for the upcoming process and to involve them in the topic, i.e., to take their fears and worries seriously, to respond to their wishes and to value them as future school beginners, as well as to give the children special tasks in their daily (day) care. The basis of our school preparation is "discovery learning". The central goal is the development of individual development potential and the strengthening of the four areas of competence: Ego Competence, Social Competence, Subject Competence and Learning Method Competence. "School preparation" takes place as preparation for life from the very first day. We support the children in becoming independent and strong personalities and equip them with the appropriate "tools" for starting school.
We live and practise inclusion in our day-care centres:
Inclusion is an attitude. We design and create life in the day-care centres with its little and big people in such a way that everyone can develop according to his/her individual needs in the community. The child with his/her competencies is in the centre of attention. Diversity and variety, cultural, physical, and cognitive prerequisites are perceived and valued, they are valuable and enriching for all. Prejudice-conscious education and upbringing enriches our everyday life and accompanies us on the way to respectful interaction with each other. We strive for the highest degree of self-determination in the day-care centres. Individual needs are considered and respected and conditions are developed, changed, and adapted together in the children's group and in the team. Children are recognized as children and are not restricted to special features. We encourage all children to acquire practical life skills and social competencies. Equal participation in education and as a member of the community is a prerequisite for inclusion. The children receive individual attention, regardless of their background and world of living. We apply for framework conditions such as inclusion assistance based on the Social Code in cooperation with the child's family and our organization. Our early childhood experts with various pedagogical trainings and additional qualifications form multi-professional teams.
Observation and documentation as well as the creation of support plans by our special education teachers, remedial teachers, and experts for early support for infants and toddlers are the basis and support of our work. A cooperation with further institutions is very important to us.